Personal Injury Frequently Asked

PIP normally provides only $10,000 of benefits. You are entitled to as much uninsured motorist coverage as you have liability coverage. In other words, if you have $300,000 in liability coverage, you are entitled to to purchase $300,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is vitally important if you are injured in a collision caused by a driver who has no coverage or insufficient limits. You might be surprised to find out how many drivers are uninsured or carry only $10,000 minimum coverage. If one of these persons causes a collision and causes injury to you or your family, your uninsured motorist coverage will take over where their coverage ends and will provide benefits not only for medical bills and wage loss but for your disability, pain, and loss of enjoyment of life.

In instances where an accident victim’s PIP has been exhausted and they have no medical coverage to continue paying for their medical care, a letter of protection guarantees your doctor that if he or she agrees to continue providing you medical care, the doctor’s fees will be paid from the monies received in your recovery. By obtaining a letter of protection, a client is able, in many cases, to receive continued medical care even in the absence of medical insurance.

Maximum medical improvement, or MMI, refers to that point at which your physicians determine that you have reached your maximimum level of recovery. It is at this point that your physician or physicians are able to reach an opinion as to whether you have suffered a permanent impairment from your injuries.

Yes, you have the right to decide where your vehicle will be fixed and the right to decide that the parts used to repair your Volvo, for example, be genuine Volvo parts and not comparable parts from a different manufacturer.

Although you may choose to use your own coverage for temporary convenience, the at-fault driver is ultimately responsible for all of your damages including but not limited to the cost of your temporary replacement vehicle. The replacement vehicle is to be comparable to your vehicle that was damaged. In other words, if you were driving a 2006 Pontiac sedan you are entitled to rent a comparable vehicle whether that vehicle is a Ford, Chevrolet, Toyoto or otherwise.

Uninsured motorist coverage is very important. And not only should you have it but you have a right to have it. Your insurance company is required by law to provide it to you. Florida law requires that your insurance carrier provide you with limits of uninsured motorist coverage not less than the limits of bodily injury coverage that you purchased. The importance of this coverage is simply that there are many careless drivers operating automobiles without liability coverage or with only minimum coverage. In the event that you are a victim of a motor vehicle collision caused by an uninsured motorist, by having uninsured motorist coverage your insurance carrier will be responsible for compensation that you are entitled to recover but cannot be collected from the uninsured driver.

You will pay absolutely no lawyer for the purpose of hiring us. Our fees in injury cases are contingency fees, paid as a percentage of your recovery. In personal injury and wrongful death cases that we accept, we collect no fees unless we successfully recover financial compensation on your behalf. And all initial consultations are absolutely free.

Evaluation of a personal injury claim requires careful analysis consideration of many issues. Firstly, we must establish liability, i.e., prove that the defendant is at fault.

Plaintiffs in personal injury cases suffer both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include the medical bills that you have incurred as well as the projected cost of your future medical care. Economic damages also include things such as past and future loss of wages and earning capacity. Noneconomic damages include losses such as physical and mental pain, disability, disfigurement, and loss of capacity to enjoy life. Injuries affect your life in many many ways, and you are entitled to be compensated for every aspect of your life that has been changed or diminished.

As experienced injury trial lawyers, we are familiar with the hiring of experts and preparation of demonstrative exhibits that are necessary to clearly and passionately explain your case and convince a jury of the significance of your damages. The outcome of your trial depends on many legal skills, including how well your lawyer is able to investigate the facts of your case, question witnesses, identify necessary experts, and present evidence to the jury.

In personal injury cases, our firm advances all costs associated with handling the case. We are reimbursed when a recovery is made on behalf of the client. These litigation costs can be extensive and include the costs of depositions, medical and other experts, and trial exhibits.

Absolutely. Call the local police, sheriff or Florida Highway Patrol. At your first opportunity, report the accident to your insurance company. Within 10 days of an accident, involved drivers must report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles if the damage to either car is more than $500, or if anyone is injured. Get a copy of the accident report from the investigating law enforcement agency. It will be very important in the initial stages of investigating your case.

Do Not Leave the Scene – Do not leave the scene until law enforcement or medical help arrives. If you have hit a parked car, leave a note and an explanation along with your address and phone number.

Seek Medical Help – If you and/or anyone else were injured, seek medical help immediately. If you know first aid and can help the injured, do so. You may drive an injured party to medical aid. If the injured is in danger by remaining where they are, move them out of harm’s way.

Gather Information – Get the name and address of the other driver, his/her address, driver’s license number with expiration date, birth date and telephone numbers (office and home.)
Get the vehicle registration number, the name of the owner of the vehicle if not the driver, insurance company and the names and addresses of any passengers.

Identify Witnesses – If you are aware of witnesses get their identification information. If they drive off before you speak with them, try to get their license plate number.

Signing Ticket Not an Admission of Guilt – If a law enforcement officer issues you a traffic ticket at an accident scene, sign and accept it. It is not an admission of guilt. Contact your lawyer before you pay any fine or appear in court.

Photograph the Damage
Make sure that photos of the damage to both cars are obtained before either car is repaired.

Write: How It Happened
Write as you remember them. Include the date, time, location, road conditions and weather conditions.

For more than 40 years Florida law has required every insurance policy providing coverage in the state of Florida to provide personal injury protection to the named insured, the insured’s resident relatives, persons operating the insured vehicle, passengers in the vehicle, and pedestrians struck and injured by the vehicle. The intent of the statute was to ensure that every injured person had the access to immediate emergency and short-term medical care when injured in a motor vehicle collision.

Until recently the benefits set forth within the statute, Florida Statute 627.736, included that the insurer was responsible to pay 80% of all reasonable medical expenses as well as 60% of wage loss and specified death benefits caused by the operation of a motor vehicle.

In 2011 Legislature began a process to modify F.S. 627.736 in an effort to reduce or eliminate perceived fraudulent conduct on the part of certain persons and entities, including but not limited to 1-800 marketing entities who advertise to be lawyer and/or medical referral agencies but are frequently in business to simply send referrals to their own associated physicians and attorneys.

Although the language proposed in the original House Bill 119 appeared to be a large step toward eliminating fraudulent conduct, the final legislation passed by the Senate and House was watered down by vested interest groups.

The new statute does, however,  include significant changes that all Florida citizens should be aware of. Some of the more significant changes are as follows:

  1. 14 Days or Lose Benefits: The new statute requires the victim of an auto accident to obtain medical treatment within 14 days or forfeit his or her rights to seek coverage for medical care caused by the collision.
  2. Medical care immediately following an automobile accident must be initiated by a hospital facility or medical, dental, or chiropractic doctor.
  3. Unless the hospital or doctor reports that the patient’s condition qualifies as an “Emergency Medical Condition” the medical benefits are limited to a total of $2500.  If the condition is reported as an Emergency Medical Condition the medical benefits limit are set at $10,000.
  4. The definition of an “Emergency Medical Condition” is “a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following (a) serious jeopardy to patient health, (b) serious impairment to bodily functions, or (c) serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.”  Only a hospital or a medical or dental physician is allowed to make the determination of whether a patient has suffered an emergency medical condition. A chiropractic physician is not allowed to make this determination.
  5. Under the revised statute insurers are not required to pay for care for injuries not found and reported during the course of initial treatment.  For example if an accident victim suffers both head and back injuries in an auto accident but because of the severity of the head injury overlooks the back injury when talking with the emergency room doctor, under the revised statute subsequent care for the back injury may not be covered.
  6. Also under the new PIP statute insurance companies are not required to pay for massage or acupuncture care and the carrier may require its insured to submit to an examination under of regarding the insureds claim for benefits as a condition to the insurers responsibility to pay for medical bills and wage loss.  The insurer may refuse to pay the benefits if the insured fails to appear twice for said examination.

Word to the wise. If you unfortunately are injured in an automobile collision, in order to make sure that you preserve all of your  PIP benefits be sure to seek medical care within 14 days and be certain to tell the initial treating physician of each and every injury and pain you are experiencing as a result of the collision. Always better safe than sorry.

Call me if you have questions…
Your initial consultation is always free.

Dan Dannheisser

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